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Posted August 12, 2013

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Church Drive Sets up Lowell Elementary with Uniforms

Central United Methodist congregation raised $9,000 for student clothing.

Members of the Central United Methodist Church and the Assistance League gathered to pass the check that will help Lowell students with uniforms.

Members of the Central United Methodist Church went for a walk through their neighborhood near the UNM campus to see if anyone could use their help. Actually, they walked the entire 87106 ZIP code, and what they found was Lowell Elementary and its 400 students in need.

Lowell is hidden in the shadow behind UNM Stadium, but the school community is glad church members found it. When the church discovered the dire need for clothing, members raised more than $9,000 in three weeks and donated it to the Assistance League of Albuquerque on Lowell’s behalf.

After a discussion the top needs of the school, Principal Cynthia Challberg-Hale spoke at three church services and a Sunday school class.

“Her story made the drive,” said Barbara Allender, a church member who helped coordinate the fund drive. “We already had checks after the service.”

The Assistance League has managed Operation School Bell for 18 years, helping to provide school uniforms for some 4,000 APS students annually. Students referred to the program receive three sets of uniforms, a pair of shoes, underwear and socks, at a cost of $57.50. Recently, they have asked schools to find business or community partners to make donations and help them stretch their supplies to help more students in need.

“We’re limited only by our own budget,” said Linda Costlow, chair of Operation School Bell.

The Assistance League has been able to help about 145 Lowell students in the past; now that number has doubled with the church’s help. It appears to be the beginning of a terrific partnership.

“They were a little blessing that dropped in one day,” Challberg-Hale said of the church members. “We will make sure that their support is not forgotten.”

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